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Carson Cumberbatch has a history that dates back over a hundred years in the plantations industry. It began in the 19th Century with investments in coffee and rubber plantations in Sri Lanka which were later divested. In the early 1900s, investments were made in rubber plantations in Malaysia which were converted to oil palm plantations in 1969. In 1996, the Group ventured into Indonesia where it acquired PT Agro Indomas with a land bank of 12,104 hectares. Today, the sector has grown and strengthened its oil palm plantation base with a land bank of 157,889 hectares which is situated mainly in Indonesia.

The Palm Oil Industry

The legacy that began back then is continuing and strengthening today. The oil palm plantations business segment has been a key contributor to the growth achieved by the Carsons Group over the last decade. The business segment is set to continue its positive growth, as palm oil is currently the largest produced edible oil globally, and has diverse uses for both edible and non-edible purposes. Even though the global crude palm oil prices do show volatility, the global demand for edible oils has seen steady growth during the past two decades with increasing consumption both due to population growth and increase in per capita consumption.

Expansion within the Identified Value Chain

The growth achieved thus far and the resultant need to expand the sector within the identified value chain led to the sector's assets being consolidated under Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd; incorporated in Singapore in 2008 as the holding entity for the sector. The entry in July 2011 to the oils and fats business segment through the acquisition of three subsidiaries specializing in palm based oil refining and specialty fats manufacturing has enabled Goodhope to leverage on larger combined economies of scale and further expand within the food industry.

Sustainable Oil Palm Plantation Operations

The oil palm plantations segment of Goodhope is structured in line with the company's sustainable plantations development model and considers environmental, social and economic sustainability aspects when undertaking business operations. Today, this segment of Goodhope has fifteen oil palm plantation companies in both Malaysia and Indonesia with a combined planted hectarage of 61,695 of which 77% is considered mature. The segment also has four crude palm oil mills in operation in Indonesia's Kalimantan region with a committed capacity of 2,376,000MT per annum and a kernel crushing plant with a capacity of 108,000MT per annum.

Goodhope's sustainable plantations development model ensures that principles of sustainability together with the principles laid out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are the bases on which all plantation operations are managed. In line with Goodhope's commitment to sustainability, some of the plantations subsidiaries are members of the RSPO while in September 2012, both mills at PT Agro Indomas, the group's most mature plantation, were certified by the RSPO as producers of certified sustainable palm oil. The Group also has in place a comprehensive corporate social responsibility policy where the core pillars are education advancement and economic empowerment while community development, health & safety and employee welfare are the support pillars. A dedicated team is also in place to manage all aspects related to environmental sustainability within the segment. All these activities are centrally coordinated and monitored by the segment's Sustainability function.

Edible Oils and Fats Operations

In July 2011, Goodhope acquired three companies that specialize in edible oil refining and specialty fats manufacture, based in Malaysia and India. The specialty oils and fats products are based on palm kernel oil, palm oil and coconut oil, including those refined, fractionated and interesterified products. Currently, the Group has a combined refining and manufacturing capacity of 292,729MT per year and its products are exported to over 50 countries worldwide. In October 2012, the refining facilities in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia were awarded the RSPO supply chain certification.

This acquisition has given Goodhope direct access into the food ingredient industry and enabled the Group to expand further within the identified value chain and build the required competencies and products to reach global markets and customer portfolios, and thereby realize the Group's vision of becoming an 'Integrated, Globally recognized player within the food industry value chain'.

Future Plans

The growth in demand for palm oil and Goodhope's expansion activities has increased the importance of the gains that can be achieved with economies of scale. Thus plans are being pursued to further increase oil palm plantation operations not only in Indonesia but to other suitable regions globally.